We all brush our teeth when we get ready in the morning, but some people have developed a habit of neglecting their teeth at night. It’s especially important to follow a good oral hygiene routine at night, because bacteria increases in our mouths overnight. In order to prevent cavities, we need to go to bed with clean teeth so that the bacteria don’t have any food particles to break down and feed off of. Basically, before going to sleep at night you should take care of your teeth by following a basic oral hygiene routine: brushing, flossing, and rinsing.


A good brushing before bed will help protect your teeth from the buildup of plaque that leads to tooth decay.  Select a brush that has soft bristles and is dentist-approved.  Brush gently back and forth at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Dentists are now finding that certain people are genetically predisposed to be at a greater risk for developing dental and gum diseases. Patients who are not at an especially high risk are fine to wait until bedtime to brush, but patients who are at a higher risk should brush after dinner and before bed, as well.


Flossing is the element of oral hygiene that is most neglected, and it’s especially important to floss before bed to remove any food particles that may have become lodged between the teeth during the day. To floss correctly, use an 18-inch long strand of floss and wind most of it around your middle fingers so that only about an inch or two is exposed between the fingers. Gently rub the floss between your teeth, and curve it against each tooth to make sure you get any debris that may be at the gum line in the front and back of the tooth. Repeat this for all of your teeth. Flossing is a great way to remove plaque from between the teeth and the gum line before it hardens to form tartar, which is only removable with a professional cleaning.


Rinsing with mouthwash is a great way to end your nighttime oral hygiene routine.  Rinsing not only freshens the breath, but it can also help remove any plaque or food that has been missed during brushing and flossing.


American Dental Association

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Even if you practice great oral care at home, it is important to see your dentist twice a year for cleanings and exams. Let your dentist know about any changes in your overall health during these visits.